Monday, January 02, 2006

Celebrating a Small Business Milestone

There are many milestones on the long road of business ownership…one of the most important milestones is the five year mark. Many businesses never make it to that milestone, somewhere along the way they fall by the wayside. Other businesses make it to the five year mark barely hanging on. Those who make it to the five year mark with a strong, healthy business and their own sanity, have something truly worth celebrating.

And so it is with great pleasure that I celebrate today for my own business, founded five years ago. My business is strong and growing. My cash flow is positive. And (arguably) I remain in full possession of my sanity…opinions may vary.

For those of you who know my story (see more about it at, you may guess that this is a very meaningful day for me. You see, I haven’t always been a small business success story. In fact, I was once a small business failure statistic. But, through a great deal of intestinal fortitude, hard knocks education, and sheer, dogged determination, I have arrived at a point many business owners never experience. I’d like to tell you it has been a breeze and I never made any mistakes. I’d like to tell you that…but I can’t. Just like you, I’ve had my challenges, missed opportunities, and uphill climbs.

Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned along the way:

1. Life (and business) is like a compost heap. The more you heap on it, the richer it gets. Mistakes, successes, new skills…keep mixing them in and you end up with a powerful mixture that helps you and your business grow.

2. Focus relentlessly on the problem you solve for your customer. No one will hire you or buy from you just because they like having you around. Find ways to solve their problems and they’ll keep coming back for more.

3. Develop relationships by making other people look good. Saying something positive about another person or business is a great way to make friends. That web of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is the core of your business. Enjoy it. Nurture it. Spread it around.

4. Attract friends. When you describe your business to others in your marketing activities, speak to the people you want to work with. Imagine the person you want to attract to your business is your best friend. Working with great people is a lot better than working with people who make you nuts. How you talk about your business is a key factor in attracting good customers.

5. Know thy numbers. The finance part of your business is critical to your success. Knowing what your breakeven number is, how to manage receivables, and the basics of taxes are all a part of building a successful business.

6. Plan your business based on where you want to be 5 years from now. Most business owners toss about all day in stormy seas, never charting a course for where they want to be. Consequently, they never make to smoother sailing.

7. Act like the success you want to be. If you want your business to the leader in your industry, act like the owner of a company that is the leader in your industry, dress the part, reflect that in the way you treat your customers and employees, make decisions for your business that reflect your goal.

8. Make being a business owner work for you. One of the main reasons we become self employed is to have more control over our lives. Then, we promptly fill our days up with every imaginable task only to find ourselves even more exhausted than when we worked for someone else. It doesn’t have to be that way!

9. Learn (or hire) the skills you need to succeed. None of us gets up the mountain alone. Running a business today is more complex than it ever has been in the history of humankind. To really succeed you’ll need a team of professionals to guide you along the way. Lack of professional expertise will cost you far more in the long run than spending a bit now.

I want to thank you for joining me on my journey and for allowing me along on yours. May the next five years be successful and prosperous for all of us!

Until next time,

Caroline Jordan
Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.
The Jordan Result

Need help writing your business success story? For the month of January get a one hour consult with me on how to move your business forward—regularly priced at $195, specially priced to celebrate my anniversary at $125. Just send me an email at and I’ll send you the special link to sign up!